Bloggers eyeball cyclops kitten story

Many bloggers, us included, tend to be the skeptical, if not the cynical sort. But a widely-circulated Associated Press story about a one-eyed kitten shows how we may have become too quick to dismiss everything we read on the Internet.

cateye

The story wasn't just about the freakish one-eyed noseless kitten who lived for about a day in central Oregon. It was about the Internet naysayers--perhaps still burned by Wikipedia credibility issues--who were convinced the cyclops cat, aka "Cy," had to be a joke photo-manipulation.

The AP turned to the National Institutes of Health's Web site, which has a name for the medical condition, "holoprosencephaly." An AP photo editor also took extensive steps to confirm that Cy was not a hoax. He had the cat's owner, Traci Allen, ship him her memory card. He said fabricating the images in sequence and in the camera's original picture format would have been virtually impossible, according to the story.

We're a little uneasy with the fact that Allen still has the cat's corpse in her freezer, but are taking solace in her promise not to put it up on eBay (like ).

Blog community response:

"After I wrote about Cy, the lovable one-eyed kitten that graced our world with her gentle presence for one brief day, about 100 people emailed me to tell me that I am a fool. 'You sure are stupid--kittens' eyes are not open when they are born' was the gist of the emails."
--Mark Frauenfelder on BoingBoing

"Cy deserves to be made into a Saturday morning cartoon series or at the very least a children's book and a plush stuffed animal. Cy teaches up important life lessons about acceptance."
--Gentlemen...Behold!

"It's pretty disturbing, but the thing is, something like that simply can't be made up. I knew about the occasional instances of such deformities as two faces or four ears, and the fact that these are normally accompanied by neurological disorders, as well, which result in the cat not surviving."
--xvolph

"I'm sure that everyone and their brother has already blogged this, but I want to have it in my files in case I ever want to draw on this as raw material for a story. I've never heard the word 'holoprosencephaly' before, but it's a keeper. I find li'l Cy to be disturbingly cute. Is it just me, or is there the trace of a smile on his lips?"
--From the Mind of Manxom Vroom

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About the author

Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.

 

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